Chicago Critics Film Festival

Fri, May 12th, 2017 to Thu, May 18th, 2017

FESTIVAL PASSES - $150 

THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL returns to the Music Box for its Fifth Anniversary! The only current example of a major film critics group hosting its own festival, the week-long event offers a selection of films comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a wide variety of filmmakers ranging from award winners to talented newcomers chosen by members of the organization.

Now in its fifth year, the Chicago Critics Film Festival is pleased to announce 22 local feature premieres, two full-length programs of short films and a retrospective screening of a cult classic. will include the local premieres of some of the talked-about titles on the festival circuit featuring stars like Harry Dean Stanton, Alison Brie, David Lynch, Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Michael Cera, Jessica Williams, Adam Pally, Teresa Palmer and Taylor Schilling.

A number of filmmakers and actors will be on hand to introduce the screenings and participate in on-stage Q&A sessions afterwards. The festival kicks off with an Opening Night presentation of the acclaimed comedy THE LITTLE HOURS, which director Jeff Baena and co-stars Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci are currently scheduled to attend. Actor John Carroll Lynch will be presenting his directorial debut, the Harry Dean Stanton comedy-drama LUCKY. Director Brett Haley will present his follow-up to the sleeper hit I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, THE HERO and Pat Healy will attend a screening of TAKE ME, a decidedly dark comedy that he directed and stars in. Filmmaker Kogonada will screen his directorial debut, COLUMBUS, a drama starring John Chu, Haley Lu Richardson and Parker Posey. Actress Noel Wells will be pulling double duty by appearing alongside director James Strouse at the screening of the comedy THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES and then presenting MR. ROOSEVELT, a comedy that finds her making her debut as writer-director, being screened in 35mm. The festival is also proud to offer a special screening of Richard Kelly’s ahead-of-its-time comedy/sci-fi head-spinner SOUTHLAND TALES, also in 35mm with Kelly himself in attendance. For Closing Night, the festival is proud to present one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, A GHOST STORY, an eerie drama from filmmaker David Lowery that reunites him with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck

Movies & Showtimes for
Chicago Critics Film Festival

Fri, May 12th
Patti Cake$

9:30PM
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Fri, May 12th
Bitch

11:59PM
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Sat, May 13th
Score: A Film Music Documentary

11:00AM
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Sat, May 13th
CCFF Shorts Program #1

1:00PM
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Sat, May 13th
Band Aid

3:30PM
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Sat, May 13th
Lucky

6:00PM
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Sat, May 13th
Southland Tales on 35mm

8:30PM
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Sat, May 13th
Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

11:59PM
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Sun, May 14th
The Force

12:00PM
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Sun, May 14th
CCFF Shorts Program #2

2:15PM
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Sun, May 14th
Beach Rats

4:45PM
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Sun, May 14th
The Hero

7:00PM
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Sun, May 14th
Berlin Syndrome

9:30PM
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Mon, May 15th
Bitch

3:00PM
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Mon, May 15th
Dina

5:00PM
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Mon, May 15th
Take Me

7:15PM
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Mon, May 15th
Dog Years

9:30PM
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Tue, May 16th
Berlin Syndrome

3:00PM
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Tue, May 16th
Person to Person

5:15PM
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Tue, May 16th
Wild

9:45PM
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Wed, May 17th
Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

3:00PM
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Wed, May 17th
La Barracuda

5:00PM
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Wed, May 17th
The Incredible Jessica James

7:00PM
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Wed, May 17th
Mr. Roosevelt

9:15PM
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Thu, May 18th
Lucky

2:00PM
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Thu, May 18th
Mr. Roosevelt

4:00PM
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Thu, May 18th
A Ghost Story

8:00PM
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Band Aid

A FILM BY: Zoe Lister-Jones
WRITTEN BY: Zoe Lister-Jones
STARRING: Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Brooklyn Decker

BAND AID, the refreshingly raw, real, and hilarious feature debut from Zoe Lister-Jones, is the story of a couple, Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally), who can’t stop fighting. Advised by their therapist to try and work through their grief unconventionally, they are reminded of their shared love of music. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, they decide to turn all their fights into song, and with the help of their neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen), they start a band. A story of love, loss, and rock and roll, BAND AID is a witty and perceptive view of modern love, with some seriously catchy pop hooks to boot.

“Heartfelt, funny, and straight-up enjoyable.” --RogerEbert.com

“Inspiration courses through it like a well-turned melody.” --The Hollywood Reporter

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Language: English
Run Time: 91 mins
Format: Digital

La Barracuda

A FILM BY: Jason Cortlund, Julia Halperin
WRITTEN BY: Jason Cortlund
STARRING: Allison Tolman, Sophie Reid, JoBeth Williams

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

A young British woman named Sinaloa comes to Texas to find Merle, her half-sister by way of their dead country musician father. It doesn't take long for Sinaloa to charm her way into Merle's life. Her singing awakens something in Merle and erases some of the lingering doubts about their shared bloodline. But an all-too-familiar chaos comes with it, which soon starts to unravel Merle's stable world—her job, her upcoming marriage, and an already tense relationship with her mother, Patricia. And while the family music legacy brought this stranger to town, darker motives are woven into the songs she sings, showing glimpses of a violent rage that's been building for years.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 100 mins
Format: DCP

Beach Rats

A FILM BY: Eliza Hittman
WRITTEN BY: Eliza Hittman
STARRING: Toni D'Antonio, Harris Dickinson, Nicole Flyus

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Frankie, an aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn, is having a miserable summer. With his father dying and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences. Winner: Best Director, Sundance Film Festival 2017.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Language: English
Run Time: 95 mins
Format: Digital

Berlin Syndrome

A FILM BY: Cate Shortland
WRITTEN BY: Shaun Grant (screenplay), Melanie Joosten (novel)
STARRING: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Lucie Aron

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photographer, Clare, meets Andi, a charismatic local man and there is an instant attraction between them. A night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance, takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again. Ever.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: Austria
Language: English
Run Time: 116 mins
Format: DCP

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

A FILM BY: Pedro Rivero, Alberto Vázquez
WRITTEN BY: Pedro Rivero
STARRING: Andrea Alzuri, Eva Ojanguren, Josu Cubero

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever. Winner: Best Animated Feature, Goyas.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Language: Spanish
Run Time: 76 mins
Format: Digital

Bitch

A FILM BY: Marianna Palka
WRITTEN BY: Marianna Palka
STARRING: Jason Ritter, Jaime King, Marianna Palka
Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL 
Jill (Marianna Palka), a lonely, distraught housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end to her wretchedness. Her husband, Bill (Jason Ritter), focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona. (Synopsis courtesy of Sundance.)

 

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Language: English
Run Time: 93 mins
Format: Digital

CCFF Shorts Program #1

A FILM BY: Noah Pritzker, Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck, Mark Borchardt, Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer,

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Filmmakers Mark Borchardt ("The Dundee Project") and Laura Moss ("Fry Day") will be in attendance for a Q&A. 

In Approaching A Breakthrough, a man (Kieran Culkin) has a terrible argument with his girlfriend (Mae Whitman) just before running into a string of characters from his past. Hopptornet (Ten Meter Tower) depicts the fears of jumping from a great height. Mark Borchardt (American Movie) explores UFO enthusiasts in Wisconsin in The Dundee Project. In Kaiju Bunraku, a story of monsters is created with marionettes. In Tough, new light is shed on childhood cultural misunderstandings when a mother and daughter speak as adults for the first time. In Fry Dayan adolescent girl comes of age against the backdrop of serial killer Ted Bundy's execution in 1989. Hell You Talmbout uses dance, spoken word and music to explore injustices in the black community.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Run Time: 90 mins
Format: DCP

CCFF Shorts Program #2

A FILM BY: Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck, Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Rob Savage, William “Davy” Cab

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

The documentary Because the World Never Stops is a revelatory look at the hidden side of the evening news. In The Arrival, a boy feels betrayed when his mother has another son and decides to give her a taste of her own medicine-- by summoning another mother. The horror film Dawn of the Deaf puts a clever new spin on the zombie genre. Victor and Isolina uses 3-D printed figures to tell the story of a Latino couple who refuse to live together. Night Shift depicts a night in the life of a men's room attendant. In the documentary The Collection, two friends stumble upon a unique and valuable treasure trove of movie memorabilia. The hand-painted visual poem Nutag explores a dark piece of Russian history. In Mare Nostruma Syrian Father makes a decision that puts his daughter’s life at risk.

 

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Run Time: 92 mins
Format: DCP

Dina

A FILM BY: Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles
STARRING: Dina Buno, Scott Levin

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Dina’s getting married in a few weeks and there’s still so much to do. She has to move her boyfriend, Scott, from his parents’ house to her apartment, and settle him in to only the second home he’s ever had, all while juggling his schedule as an early morning Walmart door greeter. She has to get her dress, confirm arrangements with the venue, and make peace with her family, who remain nervous for their beloved Dina after the death of her first husband and the string of troubled relationships that followed. Throughout it all, in the face of obstacles large and small, Dina remains indomitable. She’s overcome tragedy and found the man she wants and, at age 48, is bent on building the life for herself that she believes she deserves. Dina is unstoppable, a force of nature, and as the star of her own life story, she’s an unconventional movie protagonist the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. Winner: Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2017.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Language: English
Run Time: 101 mins
Format: Digital

Dog Years

A FILM BY: Adam Rifkin
WRITTEN BY: Adam Rifkin
STARRING: Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, known of his mustachioed good looks and cocky swagger. With his Hollywood glory a distant memory, the now-octogenarian Vic begins reassessing his life with the passing of his beloved dog and the arrival of an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award from the (fictional) International Nashville Film Festival. Intrigued by the promise of long-lost adulation, Vic accepts the offer. The festival, however, turns out to be very different from the glitz and glamour affair he expected, personified by his foul-mouthed, text-obsessed, punkish escort/driver for the weekend, Lil (Modern Family's Ariel Winter). Humiliated but motivated to make the most of his time in his home state of Tennessee, Vic and a reluctant Lil take off for Knoxville on a road trip neither will soon forget.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 94 mins
Format: DCP

The Force

A FILM BY: Peter Nicks
WRITTEN BY: Linda Davis

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Sprawling, immediate, and complex, Peter Nicks’s vérité documentary moves like a pulsing, timely thriller. In 2014, after over a decade of federal monitoring for misconduct and civil rights abuses, the Oakland Police Department hires Chief Sean Whent—a young, clear-eyed idealist—in hopes of bridging an historically tense divide between its officers and the community they serve. Whent’s intentions and calls for transparency are immediately met with enthusiasm, but as his tenure begins, the realities of his department’s scandal-plagued past coincide with fresh accusations of brutality and harassment.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 93 mins
Format: DCP

A Ghost Story

A FILM BY: David Lowery
WRITTEN BY: David Lowery
STARRING: Sonia Acevedo, Casey Affleck, Carlos Bermudez

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Lauded filmmaker David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pete's Dragon), reunites with his collaborators for a haunted tale like no other-one conceived in secret and fueled by the spirit of pure, creative expression. Lowery's meticulously sparse narrative contemplates a spectral figure who was once a man (Casey Affleck). Prematurely taken from this Earth, he makes his way toward his former home, where he is fated to remain forevermore. Shrouded in a white sheet, he observes the lament of his grief-stricken lover (Rooney Mara). Bearing unseen witness to her pain, the wisp stands sentry for years to come, interacting only with time as it hurtles further and further forward, the remnants of his humanity quietly evaporating.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 87 mins
Format: DCP

The Hero

A FILM BY: Brett Haley
WRITTEN BY: Marc Basch, Brett Haley
STARRING: Sam Elliott, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon

Director Brett Haley will be in attendance for a post film Q&A

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

THE HERO stars the legendary Sam Elliott as an aging actor confronting mortality in the moving new film from writer/director Brett Haley (I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS).  Lee Hayden (Elliott) is a Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. THE HERO is a beautiful and poignant celebration of life and the legacies we all leave behind.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Language: English
Run Time: 93 mins
Format: Digital

The Incredible Jessica James

A FILM BY: Jim Strouse
WRITTEN BY: Jim Strouse
STARRING: Lakeith Stanfield, Chris O'Dowd, Zabryna Guevara, Noël Wells

Director Jim Strouse and star Noël Wells will be in attendance for a post film Q&A

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Jessica James (Jessica Williams), a young, aspiring playwright in New York City, is struggling to get over a recent breakup while trying to make it in the competitive world of the theater. Reluctantly forced to date by a well-meaning friend, she meets the recently divorced Boone (Chris O'Dowd). An unlikely duo at first, together, they discover how to make it through the tough times, in a social media obsessed post-relationship universe, while realizing they like each other - a lot. Featuring a breakout performance from Jessica Williams, THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES is a refreshing and heartfelt modern comedy with an honest, hilarious and shockingly relatable look at what it means to be a twenty-something today.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 85 mins
Format: DCP

Lucky

A FILM BY: John Carroll Lynch
STARRING: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Tom Skerritt

Opens October 6th

LUCKY follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. Acclaimed character actor John Carroll Lynch's directorial debut, LUCKY is at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality, and human connection.

“(A) rare portrait of mortality that’s both fun and full of life.” –- Indiewire

“An unassumingly wonderful little film about nothing in particular and everything that’s important.” –- Variety

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 88 mins
Format: DCP

Mr. Roosevelt

A FILM BY: Noël Wells
WRITTEN BY: Noël Wells
STARRING: Noël Wells, Jill Bailey, Doug Benson, Kelli Bland

Director/Star Noël Wells will be in attendance for a post film Q&A

***Presented on 35mm**

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Emily Martin (Noël Wells) is a struggling 20-something who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy after graduating college in Austin, Texas. When a loved one falls sick, she returns to Austin and runs into her ex-boyfriend, as well as his amazing and intimidating new girlfriend. Low on funds and stuck in Texas for the weekend, Emily stays with the two of them in her old, but miraculously remodeled house. She quickly finds her way into the circle of a local female badass who shows Emily a good time and tries to keep her from spinning out as she goes toe-to-toe with the new girlfriend, all the ways her ex has changed, and ultimately, her own choices and guilt about leaving the past behind.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 90 mins
Format: 35mm

Patti Cake$

A FILM BY: Geremy Jasper
WRITTEN BY: Geremy Jasper
STARRING: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Cathy Moriarty

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Patricia "Killa P" Dombrowski drafts rhymes behind the bar at a dingy dive, trying to pay off her coarse but beloved Nana's medical bills and support her hard-drinking mom, whose own musical aspirations failed long ago. Patti and her rap partner/best friend Jheri share dreams of fame, fortune, and escaping Dirty Jersey for good, but they haven't found a producer with the "fire beats" they need. Unbroken by the taunts of local goons, she unexpectedly gravitates to a reclusive goth-metal musician named Basterd, a newcomer who just might be able to help Patti achieve hip-hop superstardom.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 108 mins
Format: DCP

Person to Person

A FILM BY: Dustin Guy Defa
WRITTEN BY: Dustin Guy Defa
STARRING: Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson, Bene Coopersmith

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

In PERSON TO PERSON, a record collector hustles for a big score while his heartbroken roommate tries to erase a terrible mistake, a teenager bears witness to her best friend's new relationship, and a rookie reporter, alongside her demanding supervisor, chases the clues of a murder case involving a life-weary clock shop owner.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 84 mins
Format: DCP

Score: A Film Music Documentary

A FILM BY: Matt Schrader
WRITTEN BY: Matt Schrader
STARRING: Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Trent Reznor

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

This documentary brings Hollywood's premier composers together to give viewers a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world's most widely known music genre: the film score.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 93 mins
Format: DCP

Southland Tales on 35mm

A FILM BY: Richard Kelly
WRITTEN BY: Richard Kelly
STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake

Director Richard Kelly in person for a post film Q&A on Saturday, May 13th

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

A flop when it was released in theaters in 2007, writer-director Richard Kelly’s wild follow-up to his 2001 cult favorite DONNIE DARKO is looking better and more prescient with every passing year, as this special 10th anniversary screening will prove. Mixing together science-fiction, political satire, paranoid conspiracies, an eclectic cast (including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean William Scott, Mandy Moore, Kevin Smith, Wallace Shawn, Amy Poehler and Christopher Lambert) and even a couple of knockout musical numbers to boot, this ambitious, no-holds-barred epic is a singular cinematic experience and the festival is especially happy to be presenting it in glorious 35mm.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2007
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 145 mins
Format: 35mm

Take Me

A FILM BY: Pat Healy
WRITTEN BY: Mike Makowsky
STARRING: Pat Healy, Taylor Schilling, Alycia Delmore

Star/Director Pat Healy will be in attendance for a post film Q&A

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Ray is a fledgling entrepreneur who specializes in high-end simulated abductions. He jumps at the chance when a mysterious client contracts him for a weekend kidnapping with a handsome payday at the end. But the job isn't all that it seems.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 83 mins
Format: DCP

Wild

A FILM BY: Nicolette Krebitz
WRITTEN BY: Nicolette Krebitz
STARRING: Lilith Stangenberg, Georg Friedrich

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

An anarchist young woman breaks the tacit contract with civilization and fearlessly decides on a life without hypocrisy or an obligatory safety net.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2016
Country of Origin: Germany
Language: German
Run Time: 97 mins
Format: DCP

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604